A genus of about 100 species of trees and shrubs in the tropics and subtropics, a few extending into temperate regions. Leaves simple, pinnately veined. Flowers without petals, unisexual, borne in terminal bracteate spikes, racemes or panicles. Male flowers numerous, with two or three stamens. Female flowers few, at the base of the inflorescence; styles three. Fruits fleshy or dry, three-lobed and three-chambered, each chamber containing a single seed.